ANDREW Gwynne has criticised the Government for handing significant cuts in emergency funding to both Tameside and Stockport Councils as they tackle coronavirus.
The MP for Denton and Reddish was concerned after hearing the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has reduced emergency funding to Tameside by more than £1.4 million (18.8%) and Stockport by almost £224,000 (2.7%).
Mr Gwynne said: “Our local councils are on the frontline of fighting the coronavirus pandemic and our council staff have gone above and beyond to keep vital local services going and supporting our most vulnerable people through this crisis.
“It is therefore really disappointing to see the Government cut emergency funding to councils like Tameside and Stockport while increasing funding in many of the more affluent areas of the country.
“It is ridiculous that many of the areas that are seeing emergency funding cut are those with the highest infection rates and therefore which have most need of the funding.”
According to Mr Gwynne, councils in areas of deprivation have been handed a £126m cut overall after the second payment of emergency funding made by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary to fight Covid-19, despite many having the highest infection rates in the country, according to analysis from the Local Government Association Labour Group.
The cross-party Local Government Association said councils in England are facing a financial black hole of between £10 billion and £13bn because of the cost pressures of fighting Covid-19, such as the sourcing of Personal Protective Equipment, and from lost income and savings opportunities. So far, the Government has allocated just £3.2 billion to councils to help them through the crisis.
The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that the Government “would stand behind councils and give them the funding they need” but has since suggested that councils will not be fully reimbursed for all their covid-related costs.
Labour has warned that the black hole, if not filled, could see councils have to cut essential services to stave off bankruptcy.